10 Medical Units sent to Karachi Pakistan
After meeting a surgeon from Pakistan at an awareness day, plans unfolded to send redundant medical units to Pakistan
Awareness Day to Donation ceremony for units in Pakistan
In February 2014 during
a Rotary awareness day at the Borders General Hospital, Melrose Doctor Amjad
Gulzar Shaikh a locum consultant orthopaedic surgeon introduced himself to members
and explained that he undertook corrective surgery on children with Polio in
Pakistan. He agreed to come along to Rotary Galashiels and give a talk on the
work he was involved in through his charity, Rehabilitation Response. The club
members were very humbled by the work he was doing for people who had suffered the
serious effects of polio and through discussions we had at the club meal that
night we discussed the needs of his charity and the possibility of securing ex
medical Breast screening units that might assist with some of the needs in
Pakistan was discussed.
After some discussions with the Director of National
Services Division, The NHS in Scotland kindly made available to Rotary
Galashiels the 10 trailers that were previously being used for breast cancer
screening due to an upgrade from analogue to Digital mammography x-ray
screening technology in NHS Scotland. Amjad advised that they could still be
used in Pakistan and other parts of the world where analogue equipment is still
in operation. Amjad was keen to utilise the machinery in rural Pakistan not
just for cancer screening but to turn some of the units available into a mobile
theatre that can operate on children who have had polio and need surgery on
limbs, he also suggested using them as a
facility for Polio immunisation.
The costs were by
no means small, £133,000 to ship the units from the UK to Karachi, Pakistan. The
Club was keen that the charity show its commitment to the project by organising
and paying for the transportation rather than through a Rotary Foundation Grant.
A Foundation grant we felt would be more beneficial to meeting the objectives
of the medical units when they got to Pakistan and the Club did not want to
ship some medical units and they sit idle.
June 2016 –
Planning to move the units from Hamilton to Pakistan
Thanks to a very generous donation
from a businessman in Pakistan the £133,000 required to ship the units was met.
It was at this point that everything started to move at a frantic pace. From
the paperwork for clearance through customs to getting the units down to the
port from storage in Hamilton everyone involved in the project did their bit
with many favours asked and thankfully given. Amjad, through his charity,
Rehabilitation Response ensured that the empty space inside the units was
filled with furniture to be donated to schools in Pakistan. The medical units would start to be shipped on
21st July and arrive in Karachi the last week in July and first week
in Aug 2016.
Arranging theDonation Ceremony
13th August 2016
With the arrival of the medical units anticipated by the first
week in August, Amjad organised a donation ceremony for the 12th
August which was a date the Pakistan Government officials had given for them to
attend. He also requested that Tricia Paterson, President Rotary Galashiels and
Peter Croan also attend and contacted the Pakistan consulate in London so that
our visas might be given priority.
When they arrived in Karachi on the 11th August they were
advised that a new Sindh Chief Minister, Mr Murad Ali Shah had been appointed
and his office had been in touch that he wanted to attend.
The ceremony also coincided with the weekend celebrations for
Pakistan Independence Day, to say the city was buzzing was an understatement.
The actual benefits of the ceremony were far greater than any expectations and
British High Commission praised the work that Rotary was doing and
thanked them for taking the time to come over to Karachi, stressing the
importance of the bridges Rotary was building and were very impressed that this
had brought together people not normally seen in the same room.
Chief Minister gave what was his inaugural speech in public and made it a
humanitarian speech thanking firstly the NHS Scotland and Rotary Galashiels for
their donation. He also pledged Government support for the stainability/funding
for seven of the units.
Media coverage far exceeded expectations with 7 TV crews giving live
coverage on National and Local stations along with press coverage.
Rotary Karachi and Rotary Pakistan were very pleased about the awareness
raising of Rotary. A special evening was organized by the District Governor to
celebrate the work.
Medical services and Amjad’s charity Rehabilitation Response were given acknowledgment
and gained a number of concessions by Government, the main one being the extension
of Karachi hospital opening hours.
Several small projects for clubs – Fridges for Polio vaccination, family
project at Hands Centre. Discussions have taken place with Karachi Rotary and
several of these would be excellent for Rotakids projects.
Assessment of the possibility that clinical impact may be greater if a
focus on Eye Screening rather than incurring resources and benefits that will
be accrued undertaking breast screening. The delivery of these units with the
facilities to undertake Breast screening has raised awareness and there is no
doubt cancer screening and detection of Breast cancer is highly important, however
educational facilities are desperately required and again the British High
Commission has stated that it would be willing to receive a business case for
an education program. The importance of
training is crucial for long term success. Rotary is also exploring the
relative cost for investment in Digital mammography and architecture on the
Conversion of medical units for limb facilities/medical facility
Business Case with Rehabilitation Response/Rotary Karachi and Grant
funding from British High Commission re limb production facilities.
Kickstart Rotakids in Galashiels schools and get them behind projects.
Rotary is looking
ahead at a year that may one day be known as the greatest year in its history:
the year that sees the world’s last case of polio.